Unlike the summer, winter days are rainy days and are usually shorter since it gets dark earlier. This means that the way we have to fly and use our RC planes and equipment differs from the summer. For those who are new to the hobby, haven’t flown in winter, and wish to have a good safe time flying, this is a short summary to help you avoid crashes which will lead to expense, time, and effort repairing the model. Three topics will be discussed here namely;
We all know that when flying your model, full focus is required so be sure to take care of anything that may cause a distraction during your flight. One thing you don’t realize when flying your model in summer is that you were standing still for quite some time watching your model. This will be an issue for any pilot in winter because standing still for about 20 minutes will not be easy when you are cold. This is why the most important thing for winter flying is to wrap yourself up properly with heavy clothing, a scarf, gloves, and basically anything to keep you comfortable for a good and safe flight. You will discover that your fingers get stiff from the cold which will slow down your reflex or reaction time making some of the maneuvers that seemed easy in the summer, harder to perform in the winter months because your fingers cannot move as fast. It is even more important to triple check the fail-safe features particularly the RTH (return to home) on any model in order to ensure returning and landing safely with the flick of a switch on your transmitter if something was to go wrong. Finally a strong advice would be to keep an eye out on the weather as it can change from reasonable to stormy halfway through the flight so be ready to pack your model up and leave the field.
As you all know, everything related to electronics hates moisture so cover and protect your model from the cold to avoid condensation which when flying, will lead to unexpected behavior. If you are landing on grass, remember that it may be wet and wet grass can push moisture into the frame. This is why you should always have a towel with you to wipe away this moisture and also keep an eye out on mud splashing up into the bottom of your motor. If this happens, after cleaning it out, oiling is necessary. The weather also affects the LiPo batteries as they tend to get sluggish in coldish weather which means that you may lose up to 3 minutes of the usual flight time.
For those who are fond of the FPV (first-person view), winter landscape offers amazing views however, major condensation on the camera’s lens of the go pro or whatever camera you are using can occur. Cold weather causes fog buildup on the lens which can affect the quality of what you are filming and even worse, be harmful to the flight. This goes back to another reason why the return feature mentioned above needs to get checked to bring your model back to safety and to avoid landing in an area where people are surrounded. One last thing to remember is that in winter, the sky is not as bright as the summer sky and the sun is lower in the sky which will cast more shadow than when it is high, so when you are flying FPV, the cameras will automatically adjust exposure for that low sunshine and you will lose quite an amount of detail. When you are flying, a good tip is never to have the sun behind you because if you are trying to fly back to safety, you wouldn’t be able to see the ground clearly which is not ideal for a proper landing. (another situation where RTH) is useful.
Have a great winter flying and we hope these few tips help you out!